QUEENS, N.Y. Contemporary art museum P.S. 1 played host to an international bill of DJs Saturday afternoon that included sets by electronic-music maverick Luke Vibert, Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto and a live techno set by Greek producer Sound Track.
The five-hour outdoor concert, part of the museum's ongoing "Warm Up 2000" music series, drew a mix of hundreds of New Yorkers from painfully hip Manhattanites and club kids to urban parents toting babies to the museum's "Dune Scape," which transforms P.S. 1's courtyard into a sand-filled DJ arena and ad-hoc wading pool.
Sound Track (born Savvas Ysatis) started off the afternoon with a subtle, carefully crafted set of heady, rhythmic techno. The Greek-born producer, who also records under the monikers Omicron and Minipop, meticulously arranged slow, warm, pulsating beats and thick basslines, mixing in submarine pings, ghostly echoes and reggae-style delayed keyboards to build tension and create a minimal but seductive sound. His recent album The Cooler featured the track "Frosty" (RealAudio excerpt).
A larger crowd had gathered by the time Vibert took over. Offering his customary mixed bag of musical genres, Vibert started his DJ set with crowd-pleasing songs by Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk before incorporating funk beats and skittish flutes to accompany raps by Kool Keith and Brand Nubian. Other memorable moments included tunes that mixed steady basslines alongside the sweet, soulful vocals of Scottish singer Nicolette, and a whimsical assortment of light jazzy beats and reggae.
As Hatori took the stage following his set, Vibert, a resident of Cornwall, England, swigged a beer and talked about the unique P.S. 1 venue and his first visit to the borough of Queens.
"It's very cool here," Vibert said. "The crowd, they're up for it, they dance, they have a good time. In London, they just stand around the clubs. They're a lot harder to impress."
The DJ/producer, who has worked with a range of top-notch musicians including Stereolab, Meat Beat Manifesto and Nine Inch Nails, also records under the names Wagon Christ and Plug. Vibert revealed that a new Wagon Christ album tentatively titled MusiPal is slated for release in early 2001. He said the album's title has a sentimental touch: It's the name of Vibert's childhood teddy bear, an animal that emitted music when squeezed.
According to Vibert, MusiPal will have some similarities to Tally Ho!, the 1998 Wagon Christ album that featured the single "Lovely" (RealAudio excerpt), "but some parts are slower, more downbeat and spacey."
Hatori mostly just spun records rather than mixing sounds, in a set that began with hip-hop by Black Sheep and the Beastie Boys before settling into classic '70s soul and funk by Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone and Aretha Franklin.
By the 9 p.m. cocktail hour when the museum must shut down the music due to neighborhood noise restrictions the timeless tunes seemed appropriate, as more mature couples slow-danced and young adults headed off for Manhattan dance clubs.